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Restaurants

Bero

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Listed on August 6, 2013 / review policy

Bero Restaurant TorontoBero is the month-old restaurant on Queen East that has reopened in place of The Commissary from the same co-owners Andrew Bridgman and Giulio Marconi and new partner, chef Matt Kantor (Little Kitchen, Secret Pickle Supper Club).

In contrast to the former casual eatery, the intimate 28-seat restaurant brightens up the dining room with white linens and warm neutral textiles, even if it tends to be a bit too beige. In general, the interior isn't nearly as impressive or artful as the food turns out to be.

Bero Restaurant TorontoThe menu is laid out like checkerboard and for $52 dollars you can pick from four courses, or for $84 have a seven course progression. The prix fixe format entices at least one extra course than I typically opt for but considering the precious portions trademarked to fine dining, the four course minimum is appreciated.

Bero Restaurant TorontoExpect to find beautifully composed plates like the ceviche branzino mixed with poblano, celery and radish for a little heat and crunch. It's accompanied by bright garnishes like cilantro puree, pickled red onion and grapefruit granita.

Bero Restaurant TorontoThe white gazpacho (that's bread and almond soup) is poured table-side over compressed cucumbers, circular punched sorrel leaves and espresso soaked basil seeds. It somehow reminds me of a Matisse paper cut out it's plated so artfully.

The capicola terrine is another technical feat (or should I say féte?) served with fava beans, white bean mousse and cherry tomato concasse.

Bero Restaurant TorontoDesserts like the creme Catalan (essentially the Spanish version of creme brûlée) take lots of license. The classic is re-imagined on the plate in a long cylinder of lemon cinnamon custard alongside cardamom, chick pea crumble and a swoosh of blueberry coulis.

Bero Restaurant TorontoBeverage pairings are available with either the four or seven course meals for $32 or $54 respectively. The cocktail list offers classics like a Negroni or Sazerac for $12. The wine list featuring mainly Ontario and Mediterranean bottles starts at $37.

Bero is open Wednesday to Saturday for dinner starting at 6pm. Reservations are recommended.

Bero Restaurant TorontoPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

9 Comments

alex / August 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm
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Looks like a nice albeit expensive place. From their menu though, nothing they make is actually basque or inspired by basque cuisine in any way...
BM / August 6, 2013 at 01:51 pm
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HOw long was The Commissary there for? Like a week?
Betty / August 6, 2013 at 02:14 pm
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I can't believe Charlie Watts has taken up bartending in Toronto. (2nd last photo) Food looks delectable.
Alba / August 6, 2013 at 03:31 pm
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@alex ... have you ACTUALLY tried the food?? How can you pass judgement without actually trying the food. @BM it was there long enough. @Betty do you get paid to be rude?
Raquel / August 6, 2013 at 05:35 pm
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Being from Spain and having visiting the Basque region several times, I have to say this is not a typical Basque menu. I would have liked to see more pintxos rather than a set course menu. But hey, there's an idea for someone out there!
nb / August 6, 2013 at 05:59 pm
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Matt Kantor, the chef, doesn't say it's purely Basque. His food has a variety of influences, many of them Spanish and Basque, but Mediterranean in general. He has his own style.

I loved the food there. It's a really excellent restaurant, and I also like that none of the wines are available through the LCBO, so you have the chance to try something that's hard to find locally.
MAtt / August 7, 2013 at 12:19 am
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It's not Basque. It's partially influenced by travels in San Sebastian and Bilbao and Haro and Logrono. Go to Arzak or Nerua or Arbelaitz or Akelare or Fuero Negro or Gambara or any of the other places I've been going year after year in some cases, watch the evolution of those places. Then take inspiration from that and try to come close. That's our starting point. Look at how Mugaritz is working with ingredients and techniques from colombia and how Arzak is doing it with Mexican.

Then add a kick ass team with their own ideas about making food and serving food and beverage that is awesome and you have the beginnings of what we want to do.

And remember, it's not basque. If it was we would be serving pil pil or Tuna and potato stew or hake en salsa verde or 30 other things. We will get to that.
Ivy / August 7, 2013 at 11:14 am
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Charlie Watts makes a killer banana daquiri. Also, Matt Kantor is a genius.
aisha / August 11, 2013 at 12:11 am
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This meal was definitely an "experience".
The portions are smallish but then it is at least a four course meal so we left satisfied.
The gazpacho, gnocchi and duck were all stellar!
A few things were appreciated for the effort put into them but left us scratching our heads a little. (tomato marshmallow, eggplant ice cream)
As an experience the meal offered good value but may not be a place that we return to every month.
It was excellent to meet a chef that was passionate and who took the time to personally explain his dishes to us.
He seems like he is doing what he believes in in the kitchen and hopefully Toronto will give him a chance and even embrace his food.

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